Should you be worried about an asteroid impact? Live Conversation with Phil Plait - Join now!
This Conversation will open on December 1st, 1 pm EST.
Asteroids are the solar system's leftovers: chunks of rock and metal ranging in size from too small to see to hundreds of kilometers across. They pose a great threat to life on Earth - just ask a dinosaur, which you can't, because an asteroid wiped them out - but they're also a great opportunity for science and possibly even for our economy. What do we know about them, what don't we know, what do we wish we knew? Now you can find out: Dr. Philip Plait, astronomer and science evangelizer, will answer your asteroidal questions live on December 1 from 1-2 pm. EST.
Watch his talk: " How to defend Earth from asteroids" http://www.ted.com/talks/phil_plait_how_to_defend_earth_from_asteroids.html
Closing Statement from Phil Plait
First, thank you to the folks at TED and of course to everyone who came to ask questions! That was exhausting, but fun. I don't think I've ever typed faster in my life. :)
If there's one thing I want you to take away from this topic, it's this: the threat from comets and asteroids is small - very small; after all, we're still here! - but real. If we wait long enough (decades? centuries?) then some rock big enough to do damage will come along. We have to take this threat seriously, and the good news is lots of people are.
We are scanning the sky looking for these potential impactors, we have more telescopes coming online in the next few years to make the search deeper and more efficient, and there are lots of ideas on what to do should we see such a rock headed our way. Odds are we'll have a few years notice for any big threats. My hope is that by talking about this, by spreading the word and getting more folks interested in it, we'll have an even better chance of fighting back if and when that time comes.